The parent company of Bell Helicopter has formed TRU Simulation + Training to provide pilot and flight crew training to the military and commercial markets. TRU was formed by combining two recent Textron acquisitions–Mechtronix, located in Montreal, Quebec, and Opinicus, located in Lutz, Fla.—with a portion of Textron Systems unit AAI Logistics of Goose Creek, S.C. Annual revenue for the new business is expected to exceed $100 million. TRU CEO James Takats said the unit will help Textron become “a major force” in the rapidly growing training and simulation business.
First-quarter revenues at Textron Aviation, which includes Cessna and Beechcraft, were up $77 million, to $785 million, thanks to the mid-March acquisition of Beechcraft, higher jet deliveries and higher aftermarket sales but offset by fewer pre-owned sales and falling revenue at CitationAir. The division recorded a profit of $14 million in the quarter versus a loss of $8 million a year ago, helped by firmer pricing and higher jet volumes.
The Bell Helicopter Training Academy has received Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) approval to conduct Bell 412EP/412EPI B1.3 and B2 Part 147 technical training at its Singapore Service Center. The Australian CASA approval expands the academy’s ability to provide regulated maintenance courses in the Asia-Pacific region.
Bell Helicopter signed a purchase agreement with Xinjiang Tianyun General Aviation for a new Bell 407GX. The Chinese company will use the helicopter for sightseeing tours, executive transport and agriculture support. “We are delighted to select the Bell 407GX to be our first helicopter,” said Xinjiang Tianyun GA executive director Zhu Yue. “It is durable and versatile, exactly what our company was looking for to fit the missions we are planning.”
Textron closed its $1.4 billion acquisition of Beechcraft on March 14, bringing together Cessna Aircraft and Beechcraft to form Textron Aviation. Scott Ernest, Cessna’s president and CEO since 2011, was tapped to lead Textron Aviation as CEO. Meanwhile, Bill Boisture, Beechcraft’s chairman and CEO since 2009, was excluded from the Textron Aviation senior leadership team and “is moving on to new opportunities,” a Textron spokesman told AIN.
Bell Helicopter revealed at the end of March that it has sold three Bell 505 Jet Ranger Xs to China Star Aero Investment. The sale was made at Heli-Expo, held in Anaheim, California, in February, but not announced at the time. The agreement includes an option to purchase an additional seven aircraft.
Bell said that China Star Aero will use the new helicopter as part of the so-called “Beautiful China” tourism campaign. This will involve an aerial sightseeing initiative, which is supported by China’s central government.
Bell Helicopter is stepping up efforts to bring its “short light single” helicopter to market, having formally unveiled the new model as the 505 Jet Ranger X at the Heli-Expo show in Anaheim, California, in February. Here at ABACE, the company is exhibiting with its Chinese distributor Aerochine (Booth P529) and is also promoting its new twin-engine Bell 525.
Textron closed its $1.4 billion acquisition of Beechcraft on March 14, bringing together Cessna Aircraft and Beechcraft to form Textron Aviation. Scott Ernest, Cessna’s president and CEO since 2011, was tapped to lead Textron Aviation as CEO. Meanwhile, Bill Boisture, chairman and CEO of Beechcraft since 2009, was omitted from the Textron Aviation senior leadership team and “is moving on to new opportunities,” a Textron spokesman told AIN.
Bell Helicopter officially opened its composite manufacturing facility in Broussard, La., yesterday. The new 28,000-sq-ft facility was designed specifically for manufacturing and repairing composites for most of the helicopter manufacturer’s in-production and legacy fleet. Bell said it implemented lean manufacturing processes throughout the facility to improve efficiencies and reduce lead times.
Textron closed its $1.4 billion acquisition of Beechcraft on Friday, bringing together Cessna Aircraft and Beechcraft to form Textron Aviation. While the two aircraft manufacturers are now combined within a single segment, “Cessna, Beechcraft and Hawker will each remain distinct brands to preserve their rich histories and respective strengths in the marketplace,” the company said.